Things appear to be heating up in the Mark Teixeira talks, and baseball people believe now that Teixeira will have a new team before Christmas. And a deal could be finalized as early as Tuesday.
The Angels' decision Sunday to drop out of the derby seems to have crystallized things for Teixeira, the 28-year-old first base star who's choosing between the Red Sox, Nationals and Orioles, and perhaps the Yankees. The likely deal is expected to be for close to $180 million, though the final figure depends upon which team Teixeira selects.
The Red Sox, disappointed when they failed to make a deal with Teixeira late last week, are still viewed as the favorite by most executives on other teams, though it's not known whether that's inside information or guesswork. While most free agents tend to take the highest offer, there's skepticism that a player of Teixeira's stature would choose teams like the Nationals or Orioles, who appear to be at least a couple years away from contention.
The Red Sox are clearly still involved in talks, even after owner John Henry said they were "not going to be a factor'' after a meeting requested by Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein at Teixeira's Dallas-area home.
The Nationals also are heavily involved in negotiations with the Severna Park, Md., native. The Orioles are believed to be talking to Teixeira, as well.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox's archrival, the Yankees, remain the wild card. It was uncertain Monday night whether the Yankees have jumped back into the bidding, although they did spend the weekend considering whether they should try to make room on their payroll for the star first baseman.
The Yankees remain interested in Teixeira but have payroll considerations after spending $243.5 million on frontline pitchers CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, and they apparently want to keep any deal at only slightly more than the $161 million given to Sabathia.